Topics in Performance Class

A place for class assignments

Topics in Performance Class

Mental Illness End of Unit

March 28th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

For the past few weeks while looking at performances that deal specifically with mental illnesses.  In the form of both graphic novel and movie I found that even though both could be hard to follow at times that the graphic novel was more easily followed.  Graphic novels, in my opinion, are a fantastic way to portray mental illnesses.  As the saying goes a picture is worth a thousand words so by telling a story through a graphic novel the use of pictures can allude to several things about the group of people who are characters within the story.  When it comes to making people try to understand something sometimes words are not enough to get someone to see that viewpoint.  With mental illness, trying to explain to someone about your mental illness to get them to understand what you have and what it does can be both frustrating and hard to do for some people.  People sometimes don’t like being seen as anything different.  In society people who have a mental illness are sometimes looked down upon because its “not normal.”  For some people with a mental illness, however, it is normal for them, because it affects their daily life like with Forney and her Bipolar disorder.  One thing that was explored in this unit was the idea of if a mental illness takes away from being you.   I personally believe however that it is not the case because a mental illness is a part of what makes you, you.  One thing that is a beauty of graphic novels is being able to see everything unfold because sometimes we don’t know the right words to say when it comes to being able to express how you feel in a way that others and yourself can understand.

*will go back and add more had not enough time to be able to complete but wanted to put something up


What’s in a Name

March 21st, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

One of the things that I found interesting about Warm Bodies was the style of how everything was set up by Isaac Marion.  I enjoyed how rather than giving names to “R” and other characters it helps to give the reader a perspective of how it feels to be a zombie in both literal terms and figurative terms.  Figuratively I mean how many people nowadays are just walking around the world not really doing anything and are sometimes considered to be living zombies because they aren’t really zombies but are just creatures of routines.   I liked how the author had introduced us R with different philosophies of not having a name.  One of my favorite phrases that really have stayed with me was on page 4 when R is talking about how it makes him sad that no one remembers their names and how he mourns for everyone else because he would like to love them but he doesn’t have their names so he can’t know who they are (Marion, 4).  This is significant to me because when you think about it our society uses names for everything because they are a symbol of our purpose in life.  When you think about it each name that we associate with ourselves gives us a purpose like whether we are jocks or theatre kids even nerds and bookworms.  These names give us a place in the world and when people don’t recognize these names we make for ourselves they don’t really know who we are.  By knowing who a person is you are able to set up some sort of personal connection with them and can call it by a relationship type name like coworker or classmate.  In this world with no one knowing who they are everything is just a mystery and by having everyone just walking around compared to what R had thought when it came to everything before his world like how he “remembers being purposeful and being everywhere all the time” (Marion, 7).  I also liked how the author chose not to use the names because it also makes it so that the person could be just anyone which can also be kind of a way to relate it to today’s society because we don’t really know what our places are in the world until we get some sort of title, which when you think about it we sometimes never make those titles for ourselves like out names because our parents usually choose that for us but we still identify with it because it is what we are given because it gives us all a purpose.

Works Cited

Marion, Isaac. Warm Bodies: A Novel. Atria, 2011.

*WILL FINISH AT LATER TIME ON 3/21 but wanted to get this up at the very least.


American Splendor Reaction

March 14th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

One of the things that I found interesting about American Splendor was the way in which it was filmed.  I enjoyed having the split scenes where it would show the movie life of Harvey Pekar and then it would switch to what he looks like now and have him answer questions and stuff.  I have never seen anything like that kind of thing except for maybe during educational videos like Bill Nye the science guy where they would go to a scene and then he would show the actual science happening for us in the lab.  I also however did not like this movie very much because of how I found by splitting scenes up and going back and forth made it so that there really wasn’t much of a flow when it came to the story.  I found his life to be very confusing and extremely hard to follow.  I did not like how I couldn’t really follow it.   The only time that I was able to start to follow it was during the last 45 minutes of the movie and how it just went straight through and how that was more of his cancer year because things I guess started to become easier to remember maybe.  One thing that I found hilarious was the interviews that Pekar had with David Letterman because I have never seen him look that young because whenever I would see him now he always has like a whiteish grey color rather than the brownish haircolor he was sporting during the interviews.  I also found it interesting how Pekar met his wife.  That scence went entirely unexpected since everything that I was seeing with his interactions with her on their first date alls that I could say in my head was “awkward, awkward, awkward.”  I shouted What while watching because she had asked if they could get married and they did.  I didn’t think that the marriage would last that long considering how quick it went and how everything went so awkwardly with her getting really sick, but I guess it helped that they were pen pals for a long while before they officially met.  I thought it was cute how during the interviews they showed his wife and how they are still married today because I was honestly shocked that the marriage stuck together because of the problems like him yelling and arguing with her to get a job and how he didn’t want to help her with some charity project.


Works Cited

American Splendor (2003)

Meyer, Andrea. “The Strange and Wonderful World of American Splendor” Indpendent Film & Video Monthly (Sep 2003):41-43.


Telling a Story

February 28th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

One of the things that I had interesting about this book was how Forney had decided to use the form of a graphic novel to tell her story.  I always find it difficult to sometimes write out what I’m feeling in certain situations and I always find that using pictures to describe the feeling makes it easier to get points across that I want known especially when telling about a memory because memories are always different each time it is played in our mind.  Each time we look at a picture it is more impactful on an audience because as the saying goes “A Picture tells a thousand words” and it really does because pictures have different meanings for everyone; it all depends on how you look at it.  When reading this novel I sort of was thinking about how other graphic novels that I have read compared but just in the way the story was told because each story is different in its own way.  I was thinking a lot about Persepolis while reading because of how Satrapi used the form of the graphic novel to depict her childhood.  Satrapi had chosen to use the graphic novel and in cartoon form to make it so that her story was more relatable rather than just an autobiography, she had wanted to make it so that people can see themselves in the situations and she had also used magic realism to hit points across like certain revelations by drawing herself talking to God in a bunch of clouds (Satrapi).

Forney does a similar technique of using pictures to tell her story about when she was diagnosed as being Bipolar.  One particular line that caught my attention in her novel was when Forney was talking about how her friend had said “Memory is Mood-Specific (Forney, 30).  This stuck out to me because when telling stories the tone and how you tell a story can change depending on your mood because one day you might be confused and sad about it and then the next day you can laugh about it because that is just how your mind perceives a memory.  Emotions can kind of play a filter role by filtering your brains perception of ideas and memories like the friend had said.   I also liked how in the scene drawn right below it shows how she dealt with it because by showing on the left side the memory side by saying what it was like when Manic like downplaying the emotions while the right side shows what the depression was really like and how the emotions were really in her mind (Forney, 30).  One of the first questions that was mentioned in her interview was about hoe she was, “so adept at following her own mind and reporting how her thought patterns happened (Gall).  I was also impressed at that too but I think that is because half the time I can never follow my own thought process because of how I am so scatter brained most of the time which is what makes it difficult sometimes to get my thoughts across because I can barely understand them myself.  Also in the interview she had answered to why she had chosen to tell her story in the form of Memoir she had quoted “I didn’t think that I really had a story” (Gall).  I know that many people say that line but the truth is that everyone has a story to tell whether it be of a quiet life or not because there is always more than meets the eye and every story is important because those stories and memories are what make a person a person because it shows that they have lived.

Works Cited

Gall, Amy. “Ellen Forney: Losing Ones Marbles.” Lambda Literary. Lambda Literary, 16 Dec. 2012. Web. 27 Feb. 2015.

Forney, Ellen. Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir. New York: Gotham, 2012. Print.

Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis. New York, NY: Pantheon, 2003. Print.


Apocalypses and Metaphors

February 21st, 2015 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Firstly, the entire miniseries of Angels In America has made me royally confused.   When watching the first three episodes there were several instances that I was like “was this in the play” and what the heck is happening.  I think that these were just side effects of Hollywood production because of the amount of drama within those scenes.  One scene in particular was when the Angel had first appeared to Prior and had like broke the ceiling to appear to him and when reading the play I just kind of pictured a fade-in, fade-out experience for that scene, kind of like how in the Bible the Angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her that she would conceive Jesus.  One of the things that I felt was more received from the movie version than the play was the aspect of apocalyptic moments.  When reading the play I never really thought about the angels appearing as a sign of an apocalypse because of how the Millennium is approaching.  I originally took the angels appearing as a sort of coping mechanism for the characters and sort of turning to God in time of need because most of the characters had gotten Bad News during the first part of the play.  When watching the series, it was easier to tell that it was more of an apocalyptic mindset because of how whenever a new age is coming there are always stories that pop up saying that the end of days is upon us whether because the Mayan calendar ended or because it was somehow foretold, but they both incite fear into people and we know from experience that when the world is scared of what could come people become kind of crazy and on edge about everything as they fear impending doom which was the case for Prior when the Angel had finally come to visit in the movie and how he had said to the angel to take the book back because he didn’t want to be the Prophet and how he wanted to live.  I found it interesting how when he left the place after having given the book back he had waded through a body of water to get back to the hospital bed and I had thought about what the legend of the Angel Bethesda had said that if you walk through the water you will be cured of whatever was ailing you and then we saw that Prior was pretty much cured and was visiting the Angel of Bethesda with his friends.  I also found it interesting how that particular scene was the first time that the actors had directly addressed the camera as the audience because that didn’t happen before and it was a nice way to end the series with the characters acknowledging that the story/journey has concluded.

When reading Sontag’s article about AIDS and its metaphors, it helped me to better understand some of the actions of people within the play like the character of Roy. During the play, Roy when he was first diagnosed by his doctor of having AIDS, Roy had replied and said, “No AIDS is what Homosexuals have, I have Liver Cancer.” (Act 1, Scene 9).  When reading Sontag’s article, she had pointed out that there have always been stigmas associated with things like disease being compared to being evil or guilty of doing something wrong (Sontag, 154).   By associating things like disease with being evil or guilty it changes how the person who is diagnosed of how they view themselves in society and makes them question what they’ve done to deserve this or something else along those lines.  The same thing happened to Roy because he knows the stigma that “only homosexuals get AIDS” and knows that he doesn’t want to admit publicly that he’s been screwing around with guys because at the time that type of behavior was looked down upon by society and Roy held a huge important role in politics and we all know that politicians will do whatever to keep up public appearances so that they can be re-elected including covering up stuff like their health so they aren’t seen as weak.  This is sort of the mindset that Franklin Roosevelt had when he was in office and had gotten polio and had wanted to keep it from the public so that he wouldn’t be seen as a weak President and not capable of his job.  This stigma is also set upon men as well because of how society tells them they are supposed to be strong and that being weak is the exact opposite and boys and men today are sometimes picked on by each other for this as well.   I had also found it interesting that in the end when Roy realized he was going to die he started to say sorry but then all of a sudden he starts laughing and then when he became his old asshole self he ends up dying and I would like to think that the Angels out there knew that this was his judgment on whether he would live or die and he ends up dying, I hope he enjoys hell because I really didn’t like his character at all.



Works Cited

Angels in America (2001) HBO.

Kushner, Tony. Angels in America part One, Millennium Approaches 1993, Theatre Communications Group

Sontag, Susan. Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and its Metaphors. Picador, 2001.


Joe’s Identity Crisis

February 14th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

One of the things that I had noticed when reading Angels in America was the relationships between people.  Throughout the course of this first part, as an audience member you see that the relationships that people had towards the beginning had changed drastically when difficulties arose among themselves.  When these relationships changed however, the pieces of that relationship still stayed with the character and were used when they made decisions.

One character in which this occurs is Joseph Porter Pitt.  In the play, Joe was a Chief Clerk of a Justice for the Federal Court of Appeals.  Joe is also married to Harper and he has to deal with his wife being agoraphobic and having an addiction to Valium all while being a Mormon where many things tend to be taboo for the religion.  Joe struggles in the play his identity and more specifically his sexual identity.  He struggles with the possibility of being gay in America and his struggle grows more and more throughout the play to be free of his duties as both a Mormon where being gay is frowned upon and his duty as a husband since he is married and struggling with your sexuality when you are already married creates a bit of chaos in your life.  As “Identity and Conversion” points out, Joe attempts to “dis-identify himself from being gay” and eventually he fails (Geis, 152).

In the beginning of the play, Joe is uncomfortable with hearing Roy on the phone talking and saying things like “Goddammit” and continually saying it (Act 1: Scene 2).  When Joe gets frustrated at Roy continually saying swears, Joe speaks up and says “Could you please not take the Lord’s name in vain?” (Act 1: Scene 2).   This line helps the audience to realize that Joe identifies himself as a strict religious being and helps the audience to develop a sort of profile for him based on stigmas, one of which includes “not taking the Lord’s name in vain” and having a strict moral compass based on the religion.  By having these stigmas it also adds to the amount of identity crisis that Joe has in the end.

One moment that I think starts the realization process in Joe’s mind start to happen is when he has a conversation between him and his wife, Harper.  This conversation started more of the gears turning in his head as he was previously asked about being gay by Louis when he was at the hospital (Act 1: Scene 6).   Harper has drug induced revelations about the possibility of her husband being gay and this revelation is what causes her to eventually confront her husband about it (Act 1: Scene 7). In this dream that she has, Harper is told that her husband is gay by Prior (Act 1: Scene 7).  Harper doesn’t end up confronting her husband about this until later that night after her revelation (Act 1: Scene 8).  When she confronts him it becomes a heated argument about him being gone all the time and the Harper blurts out “Are you homo? (Act Scene 8).”

When Joe has a conversation with his mom whilst inebriated he finally blurts out to his mom that he is a homosexual he finally realizes the truth because it is of the belief that while under the influence of alcohol, true feelings are discovered. (Act 2: Scene 8).   His mom reacts with anger because he was also drinking which is against the Mormon religion.  One thing that was brought up in the article “Identity and Conversion” was the idea that even though Joe has broken free and realized his true sexuality, he still has a concealing personality about him (Geis, 158).  In the beginning it was his sexuality that he was masking to those around him, now that he is involved with Louis though, Joe must conceal how he is Mormon.   Joe knows he is pushing boundaries with him being Mormon when he first caves with Louis and Joe states, “I’m going to hell for this” (Act 3: Scene 7).  By stating this Joe acknowledges that all of his religious life is pretty much going down the drain and he is like he said it “going to hell”; this quote further proves how Joe is still the same in character from the beginning until the end of the first part because of how in the beginning he was uncomfortable with certain things like talking about sex with his wife and now the same characteristic is showing when he is exploring with Louis and how there are “awkward” sort of pauses between Joe asking Louis if he can touch him before they eventually fall into the relationship.

Works Cited

Geis, Deborah R., and Steven F. Kruger. “Identity and Conversion in Angels in America.” Approaching the Millenium: Essays on “Angels in America. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan, 1997. 151-69. Print.

Kushner, Tony. Angels in America part One, Millennium Approaches 1993, Theatre Communications Group


Facilitation Reflection

February 11th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

When watching And The Band Played On.. One of The things that Kat and I had wanted to explore was the stereotypes on disease and more specifically with HIV and AIDS. As science majors it is always good to know what you are up against and we had found it interesting how in the movie specifically during the bath house scene. When people were boycotting the closing of the bath house we found it interesting because we had expected people to want the bath house closed so that an illness, one they didn’t know much about, could be investigated so that no one else would die from it (1 hour 1 min). We knew that people always tend to panic in times of the possibility of illness much like what happened with the Ebola scare earlier this year. We had also chosen this article because of how the time it was published was around the time that the movie was released. The bath house scene was also chosen because of how it shows the general public’s view of HIV and AIDs and how the gay community didn’t feel that they would get the disease, but felt that the were being oppressed more than they already were by closing the bath houses.

When we found the article “Stigma, HIV and AIDS: An Exploration and Elaboration of a Stigma Trajectory,” we knew that it would be a perfect way to get conversation going about stereotypes. We had also hoped that by making people more aware of stereotypes and stigmas on illness that it can spread to other parts of their daily life, so that they can learn that some stereotypes can be harmful to others and how it sort of dehumanizes people by making them marginalized from most of society.

Based on how conversation went, I feel that this lesson was learned when, as a class, we came up with several definitions of what comes to mind when we think stigma. The class had come up with a long list of items that included homelessness, mental illnesses (ex. Eating disorders and Schizophrenia), and physical appearances. One thing that was discussed was social awkwardness of situations and that can sometimes be the reason why we have stigmas. We had also talked about misinterpretation of things like commercials. For example, the Super Bowl insurance commercial that showed kids and talked about the death of children and how that was all that was resonated in our minds but what the outcome that was hoped was raising awareness for how house hold items need to be carefully placed out of reach from children so that they don’t die.

When we had asked the class why we fear illness, the answers that were generated shed light upon the stigma of illness and why people are scared of contagion. The class had come up with how when you think of the stereotype of illness you think of things like “uncleanliness” and “unknown about it.” One topic that was brought that I hadn’t really thought about was how we fear the other repercussions of illness like hospital bills and going to the doctor to get treated.

This week during the facilitation we were kind of expecting to have a lot of time left because we didn’t foresee the possibility of the discussion questions rising things that would go on for a while so the presentation went smoother than we had originally planned on. We were surprised that we had to cut some of the things that we had planned like the questions that played into more in depth looks at the articles.

We also, for the sake of time, moved our clip ahead of that because we felt that the questions involving the clip were important to bring up like why the title is called “And The Band Played On.” I had originally thought that the movie was titled this because of how people went along with their daily life without a clue while everything with HIV and AIDS was going on until people started becoming aware of what was going on and then they would still go back to their everyday life like what happened with the bath house scene previously mentioned. When the question was posed to the class someone had brought up how it might be related to how people didn’t really care too much at the time because they didn’t think it was possible that they would get it which is why the people didn’t want the bath house to be closed not only because it represented the gay’s freedom to be who they are but also because as humans we tend to disregard things because we feel that it would never happen to us.

Our final question that we had posed was “does stigma change when we are educated about a topic.” As a class we had come up with was that stigmas do change with time as more facts are learned about an illness because at the time AIDS and HIV was a new thing. Growing up in today’s world so much more is known about AIDS and HIV and how it can be in other people besides just the gay community and that yes, it is an sexually transmitted disease. Now the population getting affecting involves woman and children. I had also found it interesting when it was brought up that the blurbs at the end of the movie changed as new information is found as I did not know that the movie gets updated with current figures. Despite not being able to get all of our questions in, I felt that everyone got something out of the discussion and that everything brought up gave insight into the stigmas of illnesses.

Works Cited

Albertini, Bill. “Contagion and the Necessary Accident.” Discourse 30.3 (Fall 2008): 443-467, 472. Web. Proquest.

Alonzo, Angelo A., and Nancy R. Reynolds. “Stigma, HIV and AIDS: An Exploration and Elaboration of a Stigma Trajectory.” Social Science & Medicine 41.3 (1995): 303. ProQuest. Web. 04 Feb. 2015.

And the Band Played On HBO, 1993.


Cancer Pieces and Realness

February 8th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

When people discover that they are diagnosed with cancer, they react in different ways and that’s alright. The people that they interact with on a day to day basis also react differently. As a person who has several members of their family dealing with and with the aftermath of cancer I know this very well. I constantly hear around the house from my mom updates on how our cousins are doing and dealing with everything. Some days are tough where others are easier. My mom especially deals with this more than I do as I am still young and didn’t grow up with these relatives as much as my mom did, but hearing their stories first hand from my mom makes me proud to be a part of this family and the inspiration that each person gives to the community around them as well. Their love of life inspires me to live out my dreams just as they had.

A year ago I lost my Grandfather to a combination of Brain and Lung cancer. He was diagnosed in October 2013, but I didn’t find out until almost a month later that when he was diagnosed, he was only given a few months to live. I remember being angry that my parents had kept time sensitive information from me because even though I am at school I still want to be informed of these things in a timely manner. When I first found out I felt much like Hazel Grace did when she discovered that Augustus’s cancer was back with a vengeance. I remember having daily conversations with my parents and Grandpy (Phillip C.) about how he was doing and that would always seem trivial but just hearing a loved ones voice as constant as you could made me feel better even when I knew in my gut that his cancer was continually getting worse by the day; it was easy to tell by how his voice would sound weak and then everything came crashing down and around three months after being diagnosed he became worse all at once much like how in W;t how Vivian deteriorated rather quickly leading up to her death. Despite being diagnosed with cancer and the weakness in his voice it was easy to tell that he was always optimistic that everything would turn out alright. When reading W;t reading about how much Vivian hated being asked “How are you doing today?” made me flashback to those daily conversations and how I would always start off the conversation with that line as a way to tell if he really was up for talking with me that day. When asking this question with my mom she always seemed less optimistic and still does today as we approach the one year mark after his passing and each day is hard for my mom.

My cousin Cameron was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, nearly five years ago. After his surgery it has been found that he no longer has the cancer but that can always change. Cameron, before being diagnosed was always a very active kid in school. He always had an optimistic personality and that didn’t change when he was diagnosed. When the doctors told him that he may not be able to walk again he took the challenge and did physical therapy with the dream to one day play lacrosse and soccer again. He coined the phrase “Kickin’ It Together” and becomes a source of hope for others in his situation as he became a spokesperson for the Connecticut Medical Center and told his success story of how he eventually was able to play sports again and continues to do so today. From what I’ve heard it sounds like next year he might even be on his college Lacrosse team as a goalie. His optimism made a community grow as they created fund raising events and wristbands that classmates and teammates wore while he was struggling with cancer and stuck to a bed in a hospital.

My other cousin Cindy shares the same love of life that Cameron does much like Augustus did in The Fault In Our Stars when he asked what Hazel’s story was and not her cancer story. Cindy is always updating on Facebook how happy she is that her daughter and son are making her proud. Less than a year ago her daughter got married and she was so happy to be able to attend even when there were complications she was optimistic that she would get to see her daughter get married. Cindy kept counting down the months, weeks, and days until her daughter would get married. The smile that I see on her face every time I see her further backs up her optimism and love of life and taking the chance to go out and do things she didn’t think she would be able to do when she was first diagnosed.

Overall, I believe that there were elements of realness from both Fault In Our Stars and W;t that can provide both comfort and understanding from those lives which cancer has touched.


Various conversations and sites/ social media from family members that include:

Phillip C.

Cameron G.

Cindy T.

Fault In Our Stars (2014).

Edson, Margaret. W;t: A Play. New York: Faber and Faber, 1999. Print.


Fault In Our Stars

January 31st, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

When it comes to young adult literature, The Fault in Our Stars does an amazing job at appealing to the young adults through the use of sarcasm. Not only does that appeal to the younger generation, but you also have to keep in mind of who wrote the original novel, John Green. John Green also is upheld in the younger generations minds not only for his writing but also for his ongoing YouTube channel that he has with his brother Hank. Together they have two channels, VlogBrothers and Crash Course. Both of these channels draw in millions of viewers.

As a way of performance, many people of this generation use social media to connect with each other. For John Green to use social media as a way to interact with his readers and viewers gives the younger generation more of a connection and feel part of the process. Not only does John Green have his YouTube fanbase but he also has a personality through Tumblr which is used by many people in the age group and audience of the Young Adult Generation. The movie adaptation of The Fault In Our Stars does a fantastic job at appealing to all of the young adult generation. In Campbell’s article, YA Lit and the Deathly Fellows opens with “The dead walk the pages of recent young adult novels (Campbell, 357).” This line represents what the young adult generation is currently interested as evidenced by how well other similar novels and their movie adaptations have done in comparison to others of its kind. For example, other books that were brought up in the article were things like “The Book Thief,” and “Thirteen Reasons Why.”

The Young Adult generation is drawn towards books where the main character takes on a persona that is either similar to a teen living in a world where they are oppressed or are dealing with issues that may be similar to the audience that reads about them. Even though the characters are dealing with Cancer in their everyday lives, it is not widely considered to be a story about Cancer by the population who has either read or seen the movie adaptation of it. This story is instead made out to be a story about love and the journey that the pair of Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace Lancaster have in their love and finding each other. Their story also tells of hope and happiness and also celebrates the lives and cards they are dealt in life. One example of a way that Augustus deals with his cancer is through metaphors and the scene after the first support group where they meet together illustrates this. When Augustus takes out the cigarette and sticks it in his mouth he says that “he puts the thing that does the killing into his mouth but does not give it the power to kill him (Fault In Our Stars).” This shows a coping method of how he deals because most people would not buy a pack of cigarettes to do this because of the idea that buying it feeds to the corporation and helps to continue to make the cancer of cigarettes continue.

When it comes to performances, having a character look younger rather than older appeals more to a younger generation and will help them to look at issues and realize that “oh this could happen to me” however, it also includes phrases of admiration like “oh I want to be that person” which can be equally dangerous because of how young adults tend to walk on the side of danger. With social media, issues can be communicated through out the world and can get people to connect in bigger ways than they have in previous generations which is one thing that makes the young adult genre have a greater impact on starting conversation with today’s youth and also helping to promote conversation and awareness across the world.

Works Cited

Campbell, Patty. YA Lit and the Deathly Fellows. The Horn Book Magazines. May/Jun 2008. 84, 3. pgs 357-361.

Fault In Our Stars (2014).


In Response to W;t and Cancer Journals

January 24th, 2015 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

During Wit, there are several different phrases and mannerisms that create an atmosphere to make this play a comedy and people (I) would laugh at specific parts that are repeated because things that tend to be repeated especially when it comes to performances tend to be funnier and leave a comedic atmosphere.  After all, comedy is tragedy plus timing.

One phrase that is used throughout the play is “How are you feeling today (Edson)?” This phrase’s meaning changes through out the course of the play and also as Vivian continues her journey with Cancer. In the beginning, this phrase doesn’t really have much meaning to an audience because that is a typical question that doctors and nurses would ask their patients. However, towards the end of the play the meaning becomes more as the audience questions its being a question that really shouldn’t have been asked because it is clear to the audience that Vivian is fading fast and has become nothing but a shell of her former self. The part where this becomes most clear is during Vivian’s encounter with Jason when Jason first asks her if she is experiencing confusion (Edson, 55). This part of the play is where we as an audience see Vivian as questioning everything that has happened and why she had to get cancer; this questioning shows a loss of confidence in herself because she is so unsure of everything around her.

Another mannerism that had made this play a comedy was the irony behind some of the phrases used. For example, the flashback that Vivian has to her fifth birthday party and how she learned the word “soporific” and its meaning of “makes you sleepy (Edson, 42).” The irony behind this phrase is how even though this was years ago as Vivian is now in her fifties, this phrase still resonates with her in her current battle with cancer and how it is making her constantly tired much like the meaning behind soporific. The phrase is also brought up towards the end in a conversation between Vivian and Susie about how the drugs will have a “soporific affect on her” (Edson, 73).  Again  the phrase “soporific” shows the audience how Vivian is starting to feel about her battle with cancer and how it continues to make her body and mind weaker.

One topic/theme of illness that is brought up throughout the book is how illness can sometimes be all that people see and that they will treat you differently because of this illness. In the podcast Notaro brought up how people seemed to think she would break at any moment and treated her as such when they first heard about her having cancer. In W;t, the idea of people treating her differently did come up, but one thing that was different than Notaro’s story was how the doctors in the story had treated her. One example of this was when Vivian had gone into cardiac arrest and how Jason had tried to resuscitate her while Susie kept yelling at him that Vivian didn’t want to be resuscitated (Edson, 84). This example shows how Jason (as one of the doctors) treated Vivian differently than a human being because of how during the chaos of her dying he had yelled “She’s Research!” (Edson, 82). This showed that rather than looking at her as another human being like he should have, he instead made her just research; nothing more and nothing less, which makes Vivian’s life seem meaningless to him.

In the article Cancer Journals, the point of how each woman responds to crisis is different but the way they live their lives everyday is a “training ground” for how a person will handle the crisis (Lorde, 7). This quote can be put to Vivian’s cancer story because of how she constantly uses her life as a teacher as a way to cope with her cancer. An example of this would be how Vivian had agreed to do full force treatment for research so that her cancer can be used to teach other students and to maybe figure out a way to cure cancer (Edson, 11). As Vivian is a professor of English, she uses her work as a way to deal with her cancer and to create metaphors for how she is feeling like when she compares herself to a student by saying, “I’m like a student and this is the final exam and I don’t know what to put down because I don’t understand the question and I’m running out of time (Edson, 70).” The question she refers to is why she had to get cancer and that shows how much of a toll cancer has taken on her as a human being.

As a reader, the differences of expression have a huge impact as to how any theme comes across. For example, Notaro’s podcast was set up as a Standup Comedy. Knowing this, an audience member will feel obligated to laugh at some point simply because, no matter the topic, anything will be funny in a setting much like that. As far as performing W;t, as a play, even though this play has comedic elements to it, the play is also a drama and is meant to be performed with subtle humor. Each art form has a different specific kind of audience, and with those audiences a certain set of expectations and roles of those people in the audience are expected. With different art forms, there are different ways to express things as well as different ways to interpret each art form which is the main theme of all three works previously used. The different interpretations shows how people everyday live there lives differently and again will respond to tragedies differently much like what Lorde had pointed out in the introduction of Cancer Journals.

Works Cited

Edson, Margaret. W;t: A Play. New York: Faber and Faber, 1999. Print.

Lorde, Audre. The Cancer Journals. Aunt Lute Books, 2006. Print.

Notaro, Tig. “Live” 2012 Podcast.